I really hate March.

I didn’t use to hate it. If anything I was ambivalent. Easter happens in March. So does DST (in the States). Warm weather starts creeping in. Hanami (cherry blossom season) comes and goes.

Then I came to Japan.

All of those things still happen (though Easter isn’t a big thing here, and Japan doesn’t do DST), but there’s one more thing that turns the whole thing sour.

It’s the end of the school year.

Japanese school tends to start in April and ends in March, with a couple of weeks of spring break before the students dive back into their studies. For people who work at conversation schools, this usually means that they’ll have time to get training for new lesson types, a break from hellish kids’ classes, and an excuse to vent about work troubles under cherry blossom trees. Which, admittedly, are good things.

The thing I hate the most are the goodbyes.

March is the end of the school year, as previously stated, which means it’s also the end of the contract year for teachers. The end of some people’s lives as students and the start of their lives as workers.

Either way it means a load of goodbyes are happening.

Every year Sayonara parties galore take place; friends you’ve gotten close to have decided to move on, either to another prefecture or another country (perhaps their homeland). Students graduate, never to be seen again. Frantic coworkers push their old furniture on you so they don’t have to put up with trying to get rid of it using the stupid garbage laws here.

I get very attached to my students, adults and kids alike, so saying goodbye to these people who I’ve been teaching makes me want to curl up under my kotatsu, eat chocolate, and sulk for the entirety of the month, beautiful spring weather be damned.

Yes, you can keep in touch with some people after they’ve graduated or moved back to their countries or whatever. There are lovely things like Skype, Facebook, the postal service. I’m aware of this, and utilize these things with the people I’m particularly close to. But we all know that goodbyes signify a change in relationships no matter how well you try to stay connected, and you have to say farewell not only to that person, but that person’s current role in your life.

Student? No longer a student, but maybe a friend or just an awkward acquaintance you see at future graduation parties. Best friend you eat parfaits with? You’ll remember them every time you eat a parfait, but your relationship shifts to “that person I talk to on Facebook once a week and reminisce about sweets with”.

Not saying these changes are good, bad, or anything at all.

But excuse me while I go close the curtains on a beautiful day and say “bah humbug”.

I’ll get over it in April.

That’s a horse of a different color.

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